Acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul wrote about the tremendous value in solving problems using real, 3-D objects in the New York Times Sunday, June 13. It’s so applicable to Brick Math, we just had to quote a little of the article:
“Three-dimensional space offers additional opportunities for offloading mental work and enhancing the brain’s powers. When we turn a problem to be solved into a physical object that we can interact with, we activate the robust spatial abilities that allow us to navigate through real-world landscapes. This suite of human strengths, honed over eons of evolution, is wasted when we sit still and think.
“This holds true for a wide variety of problem types — including basic arithmetic, complex reasoning, planning and challenges that require creative insight. People who are permitted to manipulate concrete tokens representing elements of the problem to be solved bear less of a cognitive load and enjoy increased working memory. They learn more and are better able to transfer their learning to new situations. They are less likely to engage in symbol pushing, or moving numbers and words around in the absence of understanding. They are more motivated and engaged and experience less anxiety. They even arrive at correct answers more quickly.”
[italics and boldface are ours]
This is the essence of the Brick Math method. Students model K – 6th grade math problems using LEGO bricks, and in doing so, they activate their brains and really learn what the math means.
Imagine building this brick model of dividing 24 by 6:
The brick model demonstrates the concept of dividing a set of 24 into 4 sets of 6. Using the 3-D bricks to model the problem helps a student, in the words of writer Paul, "navigate through real-world landscapes." Students put this another way: "I can SEE the math!"
Later, the teacher introduces the number sentence 24 ÷ 6 = 4 so students learn how to write the problem using numerals. This problem is from Division Using LEGO® Bricks.
Brick Math methods are based on learning theory from a number of leading experts. The program has been tested on students and shown to improve how well they learn math.
Brick Math is a K-6 math curriculum that uses LEGO® bricks to model 11 different math subjects: Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Basic Fractions, Basic Measurement, Fraction Multiplication, Fraction Division, Advanced Measurement and Geometry, and Decimals. It works well for homeschooling, math intervention, enrichment, and as a whole-school program. Materials are simple and affordable.
If you teach math or have a student at home who is learning math, check brickmath.com. The website includes videos for both teacher training and direct instruction of students. You can learn more about how Brick Math improves student math test scores and hear what people who are using Brick Math have to say about the program.
We’re putting the 2020-2021 school year in the rear-view mirror and looking ahead to new resources for students as they go back to in-person learning. Students will need something extra to regain the math skills they’ve lost in the past school year. That’s why the 2021-2022 school year is “The Year of Brick Math”!
There’s never been a better time for Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO Bricks. The innovative K – 6 math curriculum utilizes kid-friendly LEGO bricks to model math with direct, hands-on techniques that are easy to teach and fun to learn. The method is as far from Zoom screens and worksheets as it could be. The lessons are engaging and effective.
Many students have lost significant ground in math during the past year. And parents are very concerned about their children’s lack of academic progress.
The Brick Math program can help strengthen students’ math skills. Any or all of the 11 different K – 6 math subjects can be added to an existing math program to help struggling students. Thousands of schools, teachers, and parents use Brick Math in various ways: as a complete math curriculum, for instruction in specific content areas, for remediation, in small-groups, or working one-on-one. Brick Math school programs can include professional development, coaching, and individual support for teachers.
Learning math with LEGO bricks is a proven method that gets powerful results. Research has shown that students who learn with Brick Math improve their test scores dramatically. Right now, students need innovative learning solutions that work.
Brick Math is the solution to help students rebuild the math skills they have lost in the past year. Make 2021-22 your Year of Brick Math! Visit www.brickmath.com or call 802-751-8802 for more information.
It’s been a tough year for schools and students, especially for math instruction. Many students have lost substantial math skills during this past school year because virtual learning is a poor substitute for in-class, hands-on learning. Research shows the deficits are far greater for math than for reading.
But there is a solution. Brick Math: Teaching Math Using LEGO Bricks is a program used by thousands of schools around the country to help K – 6 students catch up in math skills they desperately need. Brick Math has programs for schools to jump-start the math curriculum with specific, hands-on instruction in 11 math subjects. This proven program engages students with LEGO-compatible bricks to help students quickly gain back what they've lost and move ahead in their math skills. Brick Math programs can include professional development, coaching, and individual support for teachers.
We’re calling the 2021-2022 school year “The Year of Brick Math,” because it’s the perfect curriculum to help K – 6 students rebuild their lost math skills. Brick Math uses LEGO bricks to model the math, which results in higher engagement with the lessons and deeper understanding of the math.
Here’s why Brick Math works to bring students' math skills back to where they need to be:
• Modular Components:
The program is modular, so it can be brought in at whatever level students need to make up for the math they didn’t learn this past year. The K - 6 curriculum is divided into 11 different subject areas, starting with Counting and Cardinality in the earliest grades, and moving through Advanced Geometry and Measurement in grades 5 - 6.
• No Screens Necessary!
The hands-on nature of Brick Math is just right for screen-exhausted students. They build models of the math with their own set of bricks as they learn, and they utilize pencil and paper to draw the models and explain their thinking process.
• Easy to Get Started
Teaching techniques are easy to learn and straightforward. Professional development for implementation and periodic coaching of staff throughout the year are available to ensure that teachers are comfortable teaching with Brick Math.
• Proven Results
Research shows that students who learn with Brick Math improve their test scores dramatically. Learning math with LEGO bricks is a proven method that gets powerful results.
Brick Math is the curriculum solution for schools that need to help students rebuild the math skills they have lost in the past year. Visit www.brickmath.com or call 802-751-8802 for more information.
It’s an exciting time for American schools. Tomorrow President Biden will sign the COVID relief bill, which allocates $128 billion for state and local education.
Twenty percent of those funds must address learning loss by students who have struggled to learn in virtual or hybrid settings. According to research, students have fallen far behind in math since March 2020, with much more severe learning losses in math than in reading.
There are five key ways that a math curriculum can help students who have fallen behind in math:
1. Students have fallen behind in math at different rates and in different subjects. Brick Math is a modular program that allows students to catch up in any of 11 specific K-6 math areas (Counting and Cardinality through Advanced Measurement and Geometry).
2. As students move back to full-time classroom learning, teachers can now take advantage of teaching methods that work well in the classroom setting. Brick Math works especially well in a classroom environment because it is hands-on. Students build models of the math with LEGO bricks, and teachers can quickly scan the room to make sure students are correctly learning the concepts.
3. K – 6 math is often taught using small groups of students whose math skills are at the same level. Brick Math works well in small groups because teachers can target specific areas of learning needs and help students with quick adjustments.
4. Students learn math best through a variety of methods. With Brick Math, students think through problems under the guidance of the teacher. Then they build models of the math with bricks. They then draw their models and explain the math concept in writing. These steps help solidify students’ learning.
5. Research shows that kids learn more when they are engaged and stay longer on the task. With Brick Math, students have fun while they learn, so their level of engagement is high. Many teachers report that students ask for “more Brick Math,” even when it’s time to move on to another subject!
Brick Math is ready to help schools with a program that can accelerate students’ math skills. If your students have fallen behind in math, please visit BrickMath.com to find out more about how Brick Math can help your students recover from math learning losses over the past year. The website includes training videos, testing results, research findings, and much more.
While kids are learning from home, Brick Math helps to make math fun! Dr. Shirley Disseler (aka "Dr. D") has launched a series of videos for students that help them learn K - 6 math using LEGO® bricks!
In the "Brick Math with Dr. D" videos, Dr. Disseler teaches Brick Math directly to students, showing them the brick modeling techniques and explaining the "why" behind the math.
"It's a great way for kids to start using LEGO® bricks to learn math concepts while they're home," says Dr. Disseler. "The lessons are really fun for kids to do, and they feel a great sense of satisfaction when they learn by building along with me as they watch the videos."
"Brick Math with Dr. D" videos have lessons in Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Basic Fractions. New videos are being added all the time to cover more math subjects.
Says Dr. Disseler, "And parents are welcome to join us—Brick Math is fun for everyone!"
The Brick Math method of learning by using LEGO® bricks to model math problems adapts to anywhere kids are learning – it’s a great method to learn K-6th grade math at home. It makes math easy to teach and fun to learn!
Here are the basics you need to know to use Brick Math at home with your own children:
Brick Math is taught by math subject. It corresponds to grade level roughly this way:
K-2: Counting, Addition, Subtraction
3-4: Multiplication, Division, Basic Fractions, Basic Measurement
5-6: Fraction Multiplication, Fraction Division, Advanced Measurement and Geometry, Decimals
Choose the subject(s) you need for your children. You can mix up the grade levels, depending on their interest and what they’re learning.
There is a Teacher Edition for each subject for you to use. These have all the lessons in chapter format. There is also a Student Edition for each subject, which is a workbook with extra problems, assessments, and a place to keep your child’s work all in one place. These are optional, but they are really useful. The books come in physical paperback versions as well as PDFs that can be downloaded immediately.
The LEGO® bricks that are used to model the math are the common sizes and shapes – 1x1, 2x2, 2x4, etc. Each chapter lists the bricks you need to do the lessons in that chapter, and the appendix of each book has a list of all the bricks needed for the whole program. There is a Brick Math brick set you can purchase, but if you have LEGO® bricks at home, feel free to use them!
Brick Math has lots of resources for helping parents teach their children with the program. You can start with video lessons, and then follow the Teacher Edition to guide your child through all the lessons. Every Teacher Edition has tips for teaching with Brick Math. The short assessments in every chapter of the Student Editions will help you make sure your child is learning.
And, as always, feel free to contact us with your questions – we’re here to help!
Hi, Texas and California! Welcome to Brick Math!
The Brick Math phenomenon is spreading across the country. Brick Math is the exciting new program for teaching a complete K-6 curriculum using LEGO® bricks. School districts around the country are setting Brick Math up as an approved vendor.
Brick Math has recently become an approved vendor for the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, which also extends to the Judson, Northside, and San Antonio Independent School Districts. In the Houston area, Brick Math was approved as a vendor for the Aldine Independent School District, which also extends to more than 40 school districts in the Central Texas Purchasing Alliance (CTPA). Brick Math was also approved as a vendor for the Klein Independent School District in Klein, Texas, which is in the Houston area as well.
In California, we’ve recently become an approved vendor of the Compass Charter Schools, which provide online and home study school services for kids in that state, often serving child actors, athletes, and students from military families.
When a school or district wants to buy Brick Math, sometimes we need to become an approved vendor. This happens in a couple of ways:
If your school wants to purchase Brick Math but we aren’t part of your school or district’s approved vendor network yet, it’s easy for us to become part of that list. Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll make that happen so your school can get started with Brick Math!
Brick Math is an approved vendor in a number of school districts in North Carolina, New Jersey, and South Carolina. We might already be approved in your district, too. If you're not sure, contact email@example.com to find out. We look forward to being approved as a vendor by many more school districts to help more students improve their math skills through Brick Math.
High Point University, home of Brick Math author Dr. Shirley Disseler, celebrated International LEGO Day yesterday, encouraging HPU students to come to the Stout School of Education and build something out of bricks that they are passionate about.
Dr. Disseler is passionate about using the bricks to help students learn math. Her Brick Math curriculum for elementary and middle school was developed to help students conceptualize math, or, as Dr. Disseler says, "to understand the why behind the math."
Here's the full article about International LEGO Day at HPU, courtesy of the HIgh Point Enterprise.
Charity Preston of the website Organized Classroom just reviewed Teaching Fractions Using LEGO Bricks, and says it's "super fun!" On her very popular website, Charity notes that she thinks learning fractions always requires some concrete materials to help introduce the concepts, and that's why she was excited to try the activities in the book.
Charity adds an extra tip for teachers when they start using the Brick Math program: she suggests letting students play with the bricks for two minutes before starting the lessons, just so they get the "playing" aspect of LEGO bricks out of their systems and are ready to use them as learning tools. Great idea!
Pat Hensley of the blog Successful Teaching just reviewed one of the Brick Math books, Teaching Multiplication Using LEGO Bricks. Glad to say that Pat loved it! Read her whole review here: https://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2017/08/teaching-multiplication-using-lego.html
Pat found the lessons easy to follow and great for classroom teachers or a homeschool situation. We're supplying a free book for one lucky reader of Successful Teaching, so go to Pat's blog and sign up to win the book before September 4!